SINGAPORE, Asia — This month, Barry’s Bootcamp, the celebrity-endorsed boutique fitness studio from West Hollywood, is opening its Asian flagship studio in Singapore, following in the footsteps of franchises F45 and Orangetheory.
The move is the latest indicator of the island city-state’s growing role as a springboard for Western wellness brands to penetrate the region’s burgeoning wellness market.
Over the past 20 years, Barry’s Bootcamp has expanded across the globe to major cities like New York, Milan, London, Sydney, and Dubai, and now it’s making Singapore its first stop in Asia.
With brands preferring to consolidate their offering at home before venturing into new territories, the move is a significant one for Barry’s CEO Joey Gonzalez, as well as for the potential opportunities it could open up for like-minded brands looking for a foothold in the region.
Speaking to Augustman ahead of the new studio opening, Gonzalez said: “So many people from Singapore have been asking for Barry’s. There was a pent-up demand and brand awareness in Singapore that we didn’t see in other parts of Asia.”
A leading factor drawing western wellness brands to the island is a large expat community already familiar with the boutique studio scene in the US, UK and Australia. Undoubtedly, another significant factor is Singapore’s benevolent approach to taxation and the impact this has on the spending power of its inhabitants.
Indeed, with a GDP per capita expected to reach $55,600 US by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics, and The Economist consistently ranking Singapore as the most expensive city to live in since 2013, consumers shouldn’t baulk at the premium prices charged by boutique fitness studios.
Another significant sign of Singapore’s growing influence can be seen in fitness membership platform ClassPass’ decision to launch in Singapore last year, shortly before acquiring Asia’s leading subscription service GuavaPass, in a deal worth $4.2 million.
Wellness on the menu
Health and wellness are clearly on the menu in Singapore too, with innovative plant-based brands such as VeganBurg and more recently Impossible Foods eyeing the city as a welcoming port of entry into the region.
In contrast to Western diets, many Asian cultures have culinary traditions more closely aligned with vegetarian or vegan approaches and a recent report from PETA Asia declared Singapore as the second most vegan-friendly city in the region, narrowly behind Taiwan’s capital Taipei.
Speaking to Welltodo in January, Alex Tan, CEO of VeganBurg said: “There is definitely a growing community of vegans in Asia, and even more so, a growing community of eco-conscious consumers who are receptive to vegan food. As demand continues to grow, so will the number of vegan dining options – which is great!”
The appetite for wellness among consumers and businesses is on a similar upward trajectory, with the area hosting a number of fitness events including Les Mills Live, FitnessFest, YogaFest World Edition and Glow Festival in recent months.
Annual surveys charting the world’s healthiest and happiest countries also continue to score Singapore highly. The Global Wellness Index published by investment firm LetterOne – which assessed global living standards based on key metrics including blood pressure, obesity, depression, exercise, life expectancy and government spending on healthcare – ranked Singapore seventh out of 151 nations evaluated.
By contrast, Britain was ranked 15th, with high rates of obesity and inactivity recorded, and the United States placed 37th, hampered by excessive obesity, depression and inactivity.
Earlier this year Singapore also came eighth in the annual Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health including environmental indicators such as access to clean water and sanitation.
Overall, with boutique studios and disruptive health-conscious food companies rushing to its shores, Singapore is cementing itself as a springboard into the region for international fitness brands. And with the Asia-Pacific fitness market hitting a record $16.8bn, the signs suggest Singapore will continue to spearhead the region’s rapidly expanding wellness revolution.